A World Without Sunglasses: What Would It Be Like?

Staff arriving for work at Salt Lake City’s Olympic Eyewear know they have a full shift of activity in front of them. These dedicated workers churn out untold numbers of designer sunglasses bearing different brand names, sunglasses that keep their retailers well stocked. It’s quite likely none of the Olympic Eyewear staff ever give thought to what the world would be like if there were no sunglasses.

The truth is that sunglasses are not a modern invention. They go back at least to the first century A.D., if not earlier. Our limited sense of history doesn’t account for that fact. If it did, we might begin to wonder what life was like before sunglasses were invented. Who knows? It could have been quite different.

As a fun exercise, let’s try to imagine a 2018 without sunglasses. And as long as we are going to do so, we will consider sunglasses to be any form of protective eyewear (think ski goggles, motorcycle helmet visors, etc.) that protect the eyes against the glare of the sun.

If there were no sunglasses…

The Rolling Stones Would Actually Look Their Age

Mick, Keith, and the gang have an uncanny way of defying age. Not only do they do so with their music, but also with the clever use of designer sunglasses. Take guitarist Ronnie Wood, for example. He almost never goes out in public without his shades these days. They cover just enough of his face to make him look a lot younger than he really is. The same goes for the rest of the guys.

Alex Kang-Chan Kam Would Still Be an Unknown

On the first Sunday night of the 2018 Olympic Winter games, South Korean figure skater Alex Kang-Chan Kam set the Twitterverse afire when he lifted his Olympic ring-shaped sunglasses to reveal a second pair underneath in what appeared to be a preplanned display of fashion and vanity.

Had the Olympian not had any sunglasses to do what he did, he would probably still be an unknown today. But thanks to fashion shades and a TV camera pointed in his direction at just the right time, the whole world now knows the name Alex Kang-Chan Kam.

Elton John Would Need Another Gag

Singer Elton John rose to fame in the 1970s through a combination of great music and over-the-top fashion. His well-known fashion sense is defined partly by his collection of thousands of pairs of sunglasses – some very normal and others terribly outlandish. If there were no sunglasses, Elton would need another gag to define his persona.

Climbing Everest Would Be Nearly Impossible

Climbers fortunate enough to survive the ascent to the top of Mount Everest know that snow blindness is one of the risks of the climb. Without sunglasses, making it to the top would be nearly impossible. There are probably a lot of mountain climbers who truly appreciate the sunglasses that kept them safe on Everest.

You’d Have to Keep Your Eyes to Yourself

Everybody knows that sunglasses are a great tool for allowing your eyes to wander on the beach without anyone else knowing. You can follow whatever (or whoever) you’re watching without ever moving your head. Meanwhile, your sunglasses never reveal in what direction your eyes are moving. It’s brilliant! Without sunglasses though, you’d have to keep your eyes to yourself.

Sunglasses have served mankind well for thousands of years. So whether you are into designer sunglasses or the cheap, generic shades you buy at the pharmacy, more power to you. Thank goodness we don’t live in a world without sunglasses.